How do the parties compare on housing & the PRS

Given the importance of housing and the private rented sector (PRS) it was always inevitable these would bring major issues to the coming general election.

Now that the manifestos have been announced we can see exactly what the parties are proposing:

Conservatives:

Little mention of the PRS per se, as their approach, with the exception perhaps of the measures recently passed in the Deregulation Bill 2015, is largely voluntary improvements and codes of practice.

They are supporting all house-building including social, owner occupation and private renting.

Post-election the Conservatives intend to:

  • Build 100,000 new homes
  • A 20% discount for first time buyers under 40, which must be repaid if the home is sold within five years.
  • Extend the equity loan part of Help to Buy until 2020 in relation to new-build homes
  • A new Help to Buy ISA to help first-time buyers build their deposit by 25% up to a maximum Government contribution of £3,000
  • Benefit cap to be cut to £23,000
  • No housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds
  • Right to Rent immigration checks rolled out nationally
  • Universal Credit rolled out nationally, combining 6 benefits into one monthly payment direct to tenants.

Labour:

Labour say they are committed to tackling the housing shortage and have radical plans for the PRS.

Post-election Labour intend to:

  • Build 200,000 homes a year by 2020. Labour will give local authorities the power to penalise developers who hoard land rather than build on it, create new garden cities, and further free-up planning restrictions for new building
  • Give local authorities powers to charge higher rates of council tax on empty properties
  • Introduce a Mansion Tax for properties valued above £2m
  • Introduce a Help to Buy ISA, linking it to a scheme to build more homes
  • Introduce a national register of landlords
  • Introduce caps on rent increases during tenancies
  • Introduce 3-year tenancies as standard
  • Ban letting fees for tenants.

Liberal Democrats:

  • Build 300,000 homes a year by giving funding builders to the tune of £10 billion, create 10 new garden cities in the home counties, for example in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
  • Introduce a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million
  • Bring back 70,000 empty homes into use and build 190,000 more affordable homes
  • Introduce new legislation which will prevent landlords letting out poorly insulated homes.
  • To build 30,000 'Rent to Buy' homes a year by 2020 by providing help with mortgages to first time buyers.
  • A right of appeal on all section 21 possession notices
  • Introduce more local landlords licensing schemes by making it easier for local authorities to implement them
  • Introduce 3-year tenancies as standard
  • Introduce an ombudsman service for the PRS.

UKIP:

The UK Independence Party focus on protecting green belt land, while at the same time boosting the housing stock by building on brownfield sites, and utilising more empty properties. Their plans for the PRS appear to be largely voluntary improvements as per the Conservatives.

  • UKIP wants to introduce a Brownfield Agency which will provide grants, loans and tax break incentives to encourage building on brownfield sites and protect the greenbelt.
  • Bring 500,000 empty homes back into use.
  • Introduce national guidelines on local licensing of the PRS
  • Introduce a 'Constructive Landlords' Charter?

The Green Party:

The Green Party approach is renting focused, with plans to build 500,000 social rental homes by 2020 and, as per Labour, they want to cap private rents and introduce longer tenancies.

  • 500,000 new rented social homes by 2020
  • Bring in caps on rent increases in the PRS
  • Introduce 5-year private tenancies as standard
  • Introduce a national register of landlords
  • Ban letting fees for tenants.

All parties appear to want to boost home building with incentives for both buyers and builders, but some of the parties also want to bring in radical measures to give more security to tenants in the PRS.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens would in particular introduce measures which some in the industry would describe as decidedly 'anti-landlord?.

The fear is that even the threat of these new measures will start to affect investment decisions of landlords, diminishing the supply of much needed new rental accommodation and imposing higher costs, which will ultimately result in higher rents for tenants.

There is evidence already that the promise of a Mansion Tax after the election, by some of the Parties, is leading to a slowdown in the high value property market.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have produced a very comprehensive guide to the manifestos and the election and a clever way to quickly lobby your local MP over housing and PRS matters: click here

... LandlordZONE.


Article courtesy of LandlordZONE
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